Throughout my years as a dedicated student and proudly involved Stoutie, I have found that exercise is a great way to ward off stress and maintain sanity. It may seem kind of backward, and I wouldn’t blame you for doubting my advice to add just one more thing to your schedule in order to reduce stress, but, trust me, it helps. My personal theory is that you just need to find a way to sweat out all those hectic thoughts doing something that you actually enjoy. If you’re reading this already rolling your eyes and thinking about how much you hate your daily commute to the gym to sweat it out far too close to other stressed-consumed college students, then maybe you need to consider that the gym isn’t the place for you.
Get creative. Think of an exercise form that gets you excited. Personally, gyms make me more stressed out that I already am, so I tend to opt for more secluded aerobics, such as road biking or trail running. However, some days seclusion makes things worse and I seek them companionship of other individuals. A great place I have found with a relaxed atmosphere, interesting people, and a fantastic full-body workout, is the Stout Adventures Rock Wall.
So, maybe you’re wondering what the basics of rock climbing are?
First off, there are routes that you can follow up the wall marked by a certain color and name marked so lovingly by the dedicated SA staff who set them. If you choose to do a route, you may only use the holds marked by this color. If you’re a beginner, you can also choose to “rainbow up” the wall as well, meaning you use any hold you please.
Here are some examples of actual routes down at the gym right now. This route is called cheap manicure, set by a staff employee with the initials ‘J.A.W’, and rated 5.11. The routes at the gym are rated on their difficulty from 5.5 (easiest– kind of like going up a ladder) to 5.13 (crazy hard– strength, technique, and experience are all factors in finishing one of these routes). In the grand world of rock-climbing, ratings go all the way from 5.0 up to 5.15.
I’d like to proudly point out that the last three are routes that I got to set myself 🙂
There are two different walls at SA. As you walk in, the one on your left is has a lot more natural holds (meaning places for you to use that are part of the wall and not a designated hold) and was modeled after an actual rock face from the WI wilderness. The one on your right is more smooth and tends to have harder routes on it.
From this point, you slip on your harness (provided by the wall), climbing shoes (also provided), and friendly SA employee will tie you into a rope so that they can belay you as you climb. Belay is a French word meaning, “to hold fast”. So relax. If you slip while you’re climbing, the rope will keep you from going anywhere. Once you reach the top of your route, you will be lowered back to the ground.
Also, if you notice you’re slipping a lot, you may want to take a second to dip your hands into the community chalk bags hanging on the wall by the door. This improves your grip greatly and can make all the difference you need to get to the top of an especially difficult route.
Pick a route and climb away your troubles!
Whenever you get tired, relax for a few minutes. There are plenty of great outdoor books and a comfy couch to lounge on.
Are you ready to climb yet? All it takes is $5, your student ID, and any gear you may already have! If you don’t have any, don’t worry! All the gear you need is provided. Most days, SA is open from 3PM-11PM. Click here for full hours!